QIPP, Efficiency & Savings

06.03.19

Review reveals CCG’s ‘catastrophic’ failings at unused £24m health centre

A review into why a new £24m health centre has never been used by the NHS has revealed a CCG’s plans were “badly flawed” and has led to a “serious situation.”

The Altrincham Health and Wellbeing Centre was meant to be a major new health facility for the south of Trafford, but a number of the NHS services supposed to move in have not done so due to extremely high rental costs.

But the NHS has continued to pay £2.35m a year to keep the building despite no-one using the brand-new health centre, and Trafford CCG is now recommending turning one of its floors into commercial office space.

Jon Rouse, the chief officer for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, launched a review to discover why Trafford CCG’s bosses had failed to secure any tenant which has now unearthed a series of issues with the CCG’s governance.

He said: “There is no doubt that this is a serious situation.

"The governing body at the time failed to handle an avoidable situation - the report concludes they could, and should, have scrutinised this far more effectively.”

Trafford CCG had promised to deliver a cutting-edge health hub which would also offer the opportunity to “fully embrace” the care strategy for Trafford, and its report said the 2015 business case suggested the CCG had a comprehensive commissioning plan.

“However, what has become evident is that whilst the document advised that there was a fully worked up commissioning plan, this was not the case,” the review noted.

The proposed tenants included Greater Manchester Health NHS Trust, Pennine Community Services and St John’s Medical Centre, but the report showed that no tenancy agreement had been signed – so no company was obliged to move in.

Rouse’s review found that decisions made in 2014-15 by health bosses were “badly flawed” and 20% of the property never had any tenants earmarked at all, meaning the CCG would be liable to pay the cost of the empty space.

The trust had done “too little” to try to rectify the situation up until 2018, and Rouse described the medical centre as a “wasted asset,” adding that there had been a change in governance in the wake of the current situation.

Image credit - Altrincham Today

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